JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli leaders are considering reinstating a full lockdown in August as the country continues to battle a second wave of the coronavirus.
Chevy Levy, the director-general of Israel’s Health Ministry, told Army Radio on Tuesday that “a partial or complete lockdown are still options.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that “a general lockdown of the entire country” is a “possibility” the government wants to avoid.
Other possibilities include localized lockdowns of hard-hit cities, weekend lockdowns, and evening curfews.
“We must lower the morbidity. We simply must,” Netanyahu said during a meeting with the government’s corona cabinet. “We cannot allow it to remain as it is. There is also great importance to the IDF joining this action, especially regarding cutting the morbidity, locating people with the virus and quarantining them, etc. This is important; we must deal with this wave.”
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Netanyahu said Israel’s morbidity rate “is among the highest in the world."
“This is the bad news. The good news is that for the past two weeks, the rate [of new daily cases] seems to have been plateauing,” he explained.
However, Netanyahu warned that the number of new cases could increase again and there could be a spike in COVID-19 deaths.
Israel had initial success in containing the spread of the virus. However, the number of new daily cases jumped from hovering in the dozens in May to around 2,000 new cases every day.
So far, more than 75,000 Israelis have been infected and about 550 people have died.
Many Israelis are upset with how the government has handled the virus situation, leading to nearly daily protests against Netanyahu and his government. Many are concerned about the economic and social toll a general lockdown could have on the nation.
Before the pandemic, Israel’s unemployment rate stood at 3%. Today, it is over 20%.
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